“Crossover” Is Coming… Wait, Why Do We Care Again?

March 16th marks the General Assembly’s “crossover” date – bills that aren’t passed out of one chamber by then face higher hurdles for passage.

2020-Session-dates_Page_1So, the March 16th “crossover date” is approaching. Why are lots of stakeholders, including your assiduously active MACo policy staff, circling that date on their calendars?

In short – the crossover deadline is the General Assembly’s way of moving things along toward passage. A House Bill needs to pass both the House and the Senate to become law – so during the 90-day session, a bill needs to be “on its way” with enough time for the Senate to fully consider it, and if necessary, the two chambers sort out their differences.

Bills not clearing their chamber of origin by March 16, the 69th day of the session, will be assigned to the “Rules Committee” in the second chamber. That means an additional procedural step, to get the bill re-assigned from that Committee to its proper committee of subject jurisdiction. With only three weeks left in the session, this alone is frequently enough to prevent the bill from being enacted into law.

So… if you’re watching a bill, once we pass March 16 and the bill has still not been voted, that’s a strong (but not 100% certain) sign that its passage isn’t a priority for the Committee who has heard it.

As always, county officials are welcome to track legislation using the MACo Legislative Tracking Database, or go directly to the Maryland General Assembly website.

Michael Sanderson

Executive Director Maryland Association of Counties